The Shortcut

by Ryan Hires

By: Ryan Hires

Everyone thinks about Atlanta as a city of happiness, but there is a secret side to it. Drugs, Money, and violence. Above the rush hour and the fast pacing city, sometimes the innocent are the ones that are punished.

School, Work, Home. Thats my life. As I was walking to school, it was great. The birds chirping, the sound of traffic on the interstate. Sometimes an Atlantean always dreams of. On my way to school, I saw Ben. He has been my best friend since 1st grade. He is the only real Friend I have. Sure, other people, I would say, "Look up to me." Just because my parents have money. Since out family is from a long line of musicians. I guess you could say, the money added up over the years.

"Hey Jake!" Said Ben.

"Hey Ben!"

"Where were you last night? I tried to call you and see if you wanted to go to Rachel's party" Ben added.

"I just..."

"It's fine, I heard there will be another one next Friday. We can go to that one."

"Sure Ben." I said

Once at school, I found my locker, and put my belongings in it.

My parents think it is important to have as much "Talent" as possible because of the family tree. To tell you the truth, music is my life. I guess it is in the family's blood. I sing and play the guitar.

"Okay, Class is over" Mr. Jones said.

The rest of the school day was like any other. After school, I walked back home. My parents have a Private limo driver, but I insist that they don't let him drive me. I try to be normal. As I got closer to home, I saw two men fighting. I didn't think that it was a big deal. There is fight in Atlanta all the time. Suddenly, I heard a gut shot. I went back to take another look. I kneeled down behind the boxes, in the alley. As I raised my head, I saw the mugger shuffling through the lifeless man. He stopped and looked straight at me, as that happened, I dashed out of the alley, running toward my house. I thought to myself, "Maybe I should't have took the shortcut to the alley." Running through the streets and sidewalks. My house felt like it was a mile away. Little did I know, If the he was still behind me. Running up to the yard, I got up to the fence, when the bodyguards let me in, I then felt safe, even though a steel fence and a few guards could't stop this man. He was muscular with tattoos on his arms and legs. When his eyes glared apon me, it felt like the world has stopped and it was us. Just starring at each other.

"How was school today, Jake?"

"Umm Okay, how was your day, mom?"

"Just fine, sweetie"

"Hey mom, Im going to go to my room. I have a headache."

"OK, Tylenols In the Kitchen, If you need it."

When I get to my room, I dozed off to sleep. When my alarm went off, it was time to get ready for work. I wonder what my job will be today.

Will I get cashier duty? Maybe

Will I get stocking? Most likely

A small convenient store job is good for me right now, My parents think other wise, that I should get a more "serious" job.One to stick with and that offers more money.

Thankfully, I get cashier duty.

First, second, third, and forth. The customers started pouring in when we unlocked the door and turned on the open sign. As the people make their selections and head toward me for ringing up, a man that catches my eye, comes from the bathroom.

"Michael,Come to the register please " I said on the Intercom.

"Yeah man?"

"Does that man look suspicious to you?"

"Yeah, He Kind of does. Do you want me to keep an eye on him?"

"Yeah, Don't let him do anything stupid."

A moment later, the familiar man comes up to the counter.

"I need a pack of smokes"

"I-Is t-that a-a-all?" I said franticly.


As my shift ended, It was dark.

"Bye Guys! See you tomorrow." I yelled to the back of the store

"Bye Jake" Said Michael

I started walking down the side walk. After the 2nd Block, a car came creeping up from behind me.

"Kid, you shouldn't be out at this time"

"I know, Im on my way home. I was at work"

"I can give you you a ride, if you want."

"Uhh. Sure, I guess"

Getting in the car, I can't help but smell the odor of cigarettes. I stared at the bottom of the floor, and I saw the same brand of cigarettes I sold the man at work. Before I could realize it, the man turned onto a side road and started stuffing a rag in my mouth and trying to tie me up. I kept struggling. "Stop!" I yelled. You could tell i was nieve at fighting. I didn't fight or struggle anymore.I knew I would need the strength for whatever my fate was. I blacked out after the struggle.

When I woke up, I was chained up, hanging from a rope. My body was sore, my head was hurting, and my face was bleeding. I looked around for help, I saw no one. I thought to myself, "I have to get out of this hell hole!"

I shake, I twist, I squirm... It's pointless.the chains are to tight, anyways... I don't even know where I am.

Still looking around, I spot a table. Laying on it was a handgun, salt, a knife and a hammer. A man comes from another room.

It was him! Looking more grotesque every time i saw him! Now I know he saw my face and he was hunting me down for retribution, hoping I wouldn't rat him out,

"Why was you spying on me!"

"What are you talking about?" I replied

"Don't Play with me, Damn it!"

"OK, I heard a gunshot and I went over to see what it was. I didn't tell anyone! I swear!" I cried!

"Kids...They just don't learn."

He picked up the hammer and walked toward me. He forcefully hit my knee with the hammer. I could feel the force from the hammer break my knee cap. The sharp pain shot up my leg!

"Nooo!" I pleaded

"Shut up"

"Let me go! Ill forget about the whole thing! "

"Shut Up Now!" Hitting me again in the other knee.

As he was hitting me, I couldn't help but thing about my parents. How I may never see them again and how I may never tell them how much I love them...

He finally stopped, throwing the hammer on the table. The pain was cumbersome! I wanted to relinquish my life, but I didn't. I thought about seeing my parents again.

Stuff like this.. I only see in movies. How could this be happening to me?

"Now, I want to play a game!" The emotionless man said.

What kind of game? I said.

"A fun game!"

"You role the dice and the numbers the dice land on is your number, then you look at the board, pointing across the room, and thats what you get.

I looked over and began studying the board...

"Let's start" He said, cutting the rope that was holding my hands.

He gave me the dice. I rolled. When the dice came to a stop, they landed on a 4.

Glancing back at the board,

"Hmm. Chest...What could that mean?" Thinking to myself.

He got the knife and cut my shirt off, and started slashing my chest, like it was tissue paper, again and again,

Blood was pouring out of my chest and I was starting to get light-headed. I knew I was starting to loose to much blood.

I rolled again. This time, landing on two 3"s. That means a 6. Game over, Or so I thought.

"Oh, no.That just means two three's"

He slammed my head with a blow of his fist. Thats the last I remember.

They threw me in a van, and down the road, pushed me on the curb. They left me to die.When I started waking up, It looked like the sun was rising. Finally, I woman on her way to her daily commute, saw me.

"Oh My Goodness! Are you okay?"

I tried to speak, But I couldn't.

"Help! Someone help!" The old lady cried.

She got the attention of a passing policeman patrolling the block. I heard the cop run over to me and get on his radio and say, "11-41, I need an ambulance! Code 3" Sirens came from all directions.

During the ambulance ride, I couldn't help but to feel lifeless. I can't move, can't speak, can't do anything, Just lay there. Later, I fell asleep.

When I woke back up, I had a tube down my throat, helping me breath. Im the corner, was my mom, my dad, and Ben. I was so relieved when I was them. My mom was crying. I spotted a dry erase board, the nurse laid out for me.I began to write, ""Don't cry Ill be fine. She began to cry more.

When the doctor came in, my parents stood up, The walked out into the hall to talk. When my parents came back in, the kissed me and told me they will be back tomorrow and they loved me.

That night was the best nights sleep. Around 3:00A.M. I was woken up, the nurse said I had visitors. I was thinking it was my parents again, but once the door opened, I saw him. The one that put me in the hospital. The one that mugged a man. The one, That should have died.

He didn't say a word. He came over and pushed a button on my life support. Slowly, It started getting hard to breath, then, I couldn't breath at all. I was starting to die.

He has given me "the shortcut"

The shortcut to heaven...

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